Ithell Colquhoun - artist, writer, occultist

Ithell Colquhoun (9 October 1906 – 11 April 1988) was a British Surrealist painter and author. She was born in Shillong, Eastern Bengal and Assam, British India. From the 1930s to her death, her work was exhibited widely in Britain and Germany.Margaret Ithell Colquhoun was born in Shillong, Eastern Bengal and Assam, British India. Her parents were Henry Colquhoun, an assistant to the ambassador in Manipur, and his wife Georgia. Colquhoun was educated in Rodwell, near Weymouth, Dorset before attending Cheltenham Ladies' College. There she studied topics such as the cabbala and the occult.Colquhoun did take some art courses, but she was largely self-taught. Colquhoun studied for a period at the Slade School of Art in London, under Henry Tonks and Randolph Schwabe, before travelling to France in 1931. It was in Paris that she discovered surrealism and was especially influenced by the works of Salvador Dalí. Another influence on Colquhoun was the psychomorphological works of Roberto Matta and Onslow Ford. Her first one-woman exhibition of works was at Cheltenham Art Gallery in 1936. Soon after, she joined the political group, Artists' International Association. She took part in the 1939 exhibition Living Art in England on an independent basis, but that same year she met Breton in Paris and joined the English surrealist group. By 1939, Colquhoun had joined the English Surrealist Group and in June she and Rowland Penrose showed their works in a joint exhibition at Mayor Gallery. There they created a scandal by asking a vagrant to sit in the window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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